http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2010/01/22/missing-man-s-family-keeps-the-faithMissing man's family keeps the faith
POSTED ON Friday, January 22, 2010 AT 10:44PM
By ERIN SNELGROVE
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Searching for her brother has become Susan Riegel Vaughn's full-time job.
She's created a Facebook page and posted ads on Craigslist. She's hung hundreds of posters across the Yakima Valley and has sent fliers around the country for people to copy and distribute.
She's also given interviews to newspapers and television stations throughout Washington, and is in the process of listing her brother with America's Most Wanted Missing Persons and the National Center for Missing Adults.
But nothing has worked. Yet.
"We've talked to hundreds of people. A lot of people have been helping," said Riegel Vaughn of Snohomish, Wash. "We're really hopeful that maybe he's having a medical situation or that we're going to find him. It's not easy thinking of the alternative."
Larry Riegel's family, which normally talks to him daily, knew something was wrong when the 57-year-old missed dinner the day after Christmas.
According to the police report, his girlfriend hadn't seen him since Jan. 4, when they had a fight. According to the report, she said he became upset and walked away from their house in the 1500 block of South 12th Avenue. He hasn't answered his cell phone.
He is 6 feet, 2 inches tall, 195 pounds and has gray hair and hazel eyes. A large, vertical scar from a recent surgery can be seen on the right side of his neck.
He has worked as a contract pilot for Cubcrafters of Yakima, but his federal license had been temporarily suspended due to his surgery to fix four broken vertebrae in his neck, and he'd been unemployed.
He was a lifetime Yakima resident who frequented several local bars, including Max's, Boomer's, the Old Town Pump and the James Gang Tavern.
Yakima police Capt. Greg Copeland said foul play is not suspected. The case is different than other missing person cases in that the family has made extensive efforts to find the man, Copeland said.
"As we get tips and leads, we follow up on them," he said. "The bottom line is, we don't know where he is."
Debbie Beaman-Zorrozua of Yakima said the uncertainty about her distant cousin's whereabouts has been hard on the family -- especially Riegel's mother and two adult children.
Some family members hold out hope Riegel will be found alive. Others believe they're searching for a body, Beaman-Zorrozua said.
"It's hit home now," she said. "We're at rock bottom."
The family is hosting a candlelight vigil for Riegel at 6 p.m. Monday at Franklin Park in Yakima.Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 509-575-6200. Riegel's family is offering a reward for information leading to Riegel's return.